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FREE LECTURE: The Space Between: The Geography of the Underground Railroad

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New Garden UAME Church

309 East Linden Street

Kennett Square, PA 19348

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The Space Between: The Geography of the Underground Railroad

Lecture by Nancy Webster, Curator of Friends Historical Association


New Garden UAME Church
309 East Linden Street, Kennett Square, PA

So much discussion of the Underground Railroad is about people and sites that we forget that the main artifact to study is the local geography, the space between known stations. The terrain, the waterways and fords, the barrens, the human-use patterns on the land—all governed where the escape routes went. The geography had to provide for basic human needs such as drinking water, food to hunt or forage, cover from observation, and safe sleeping places. The natural landscape of southeastern Pennsylvania, and the alterations made by the people living there, provided exceptionally for these needs. Following routes used for almost 150 years by freedom seekers, according to the foremost contemporary historian of the movement (Siebert) this region was the most heavily and frequently used.

In addition to the landforms, the invisible connection of the people via genealogical ties, religious affiliation, and economic activity also dictated the best routes and forms of travel. The presenter will cite specific examples and landmarks. Although freedom seekers will vary, the distances traveled, the seasons on the road, the routes between safe havens, and the geography of place remained fundamental to the success of escape. It became even more important during the period after the punitive 1850 Fugitive Slave Act and leading up to the Christiana Resistance. For an illegal social movement where written records could easily lead to arrests and recapture, the landscape—the space between—remains our best document for understanding why, how, when, and where.

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ABOUT THE SERIES

Enslaved, Freedom-Seeking, and Free:
19th-Century African American Life in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Kennett Underground Railroad Center (KURC) and Hadley announce a joint effort to bring eminent scholars and authors from New England, Pennsylvania, and Delaware to the Kennett area for a series of eight lectures. All lectures are free. They will occur once each month from November 2018 through June 2019. Seating is limited and reservations are requested.

For the full series and for more information, please visit our website at kennettundergroundrr.org

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PARKING INFORMATION

Street parking. Garage parking 0.2mi away at the corner of East Linden and North Union Streets. Free on weekends.

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New Garden UAME Church

309 East Linden Street

Kennett Square, PA 19348

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